Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Improving Your Etsy Shop Week 2 - Creating a Cohesive Shop

Creating a Cohesive Shop

 There are so many ways you can put out a cohesive shop and we're going to discuss how to go about the whole process today.

Know Your Customer

First thing's first!

You need to know WHO your target customer is...
This sounds like an incredibly hard thing to do, but when you get right down to it, your biggest customer is probably going to be someone a lot like YOU!

You want to think about having all of your items geared towards your target customer (the person who is likely to be looking for...and purchase your items)

-What does your customer look like?
in other words....What's their age, gender, income, style?

-What is important to them? Natural ingredients? trendy finds? being environmentaly conscious?

-What do they enjoy doing? Do they like camping and nature? Are they into crafting? Do they enjoy dolling up for a night on the town?

-What value can your work add for them? What do they get out of your items and shop?

Know Your Product

Now...let's think about what your items are...what makes them "similar"?

-Do you use similar materials for all of your items?

-Do they all follow a similar theme? (all for animals, kids, adults, etc.)

-Do you use the same technique to create all of your items?

-Do all of your items come from the same era? Are they the same colors?

All of these are things that can bring your items together as a cohesive collection...and that will go a long way in making your shop cohesive as a whole.

Know Your Photography

Now don't all of you grown and sigh all at once...the next thing you should think about guessed it, my favorite topic....
PHOTOGRAPHY! ( I know, I know...)

-You need to have some sort of a cohesive look with your photography though...whether it's how you crop or place the items, a background, or props that you use.

-Keep in mind that the background should not detract from the item you are selling. The items should be the feature of the photos...the background shouldn't distract the shopper or detract attention from the items.

-Be sure that your background or setting is in keeping with your product theme and your target audience as well....for instance...I sell hair bows in my shop...I wouldn't use the same background or props as someone selling rustic items since it's unlikely that girls are going to be prancing around on barnwood (even though we know Etsy LOVES barnwood).... My items are geared towards girly things, and that's why my props are usually bling, or accessories you would see in a girl's room. don't have to use the same background or props for every item...but there should be something that pulls them together.

More on Photography next week for Week 3 of Improving Your Etsy Shop.
Know Your Brand

Next...and very very important to us all is
Branding and Packaging

-Your shop banner and avatar should set the tone and theme for your shop. Extra points when your packaging and materials also goes with that theme.

-Your branding and packaging is an important part of your identity as a shop...but you also don't want it to be distracting from your product.

-If you can show your packaging in one of your it! That could make the difference in a sale. It can show how great your item could be for a gift, or a nice surprise in the buyer's mail box. Keep in mind though that you may want to make that one of your later photos...and not your first one (for treasuries and the Etsy FP etc.)

If you missed last week's post on Scheduling you can find it HERE. Don't forget to join us next week for week 3 where we'll go more in depth on Photography for your items.

As always don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestLinkedIn, and Etsy. Sign up for our Newsletter and don't miss any of our blog posts, shop updates, or exclusive Newsletter subscriber discounts and offers.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Improving Your Etsy Shop Week 1 - Schedule It!

We all face similar trials each day. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything we need to done for our biz and our regular every day life.

Today we're going to work on scheduling to make the most of the time we have (and hopefully find a few of those extra minutes and hours we need so desperately) 

Choosing a Schedule Location

The first thing we need to do is have a calendar to mark all of our organized goodness down on. It can be a computer calendar (such as the Google calendar) or a daily/weekly/monthly planner (you can get these from your local dollar store at a very inexpensive price and the work just as well as the more expensive ones). You can even use a regular notebook to write your daily task on. But you really do need to write it down. If it's not written down, chances are some of the tasks you want to get accomplished will get forgotten (just like when I accidentally leave my shopping list at home when I go grocery shopping...sigh)

What Needs Doing?

Next, make a list of all of the every day tasks for your biz that you want to get accomplished. Put them in order from most important, to least. Now write those into your business hours. The reason I say business hours is b/c you really should make some for your business. With home businesses it's so easy to work way more hours on your biz than on the rest of the tasks you still need to get accomplished for your home and family.

If some of them aren't daily tasks, pick a day or two each week for them. Are they monthly? Schedule a regular day in the month to get these tasks done.

Once it's written down it becomes a whole lot easier to see what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be done by and prioritize them all so that you can get everything done on time.

Clear Your Space

Get that workspace organized! Get rid of all unnecessary junk. Not only will this help you to organize your work area, but it will also help you to focus better. When you are surrounded with clutter, completing projects can become overwhelming. Instead of paying attention to your current project, you'll begin focusing on other things.

As an example here are just a few things I have for my "work time" on my schedule:
Schedule tweets

Facebook Posts
Respond to emails/convos
Current orders

Give it a try..and don't give up. It takes 21 days to form a habit so stick with it!

One More Thing...

While we're getting our business schedules together...don't forget to organize the activities for your home and family. I had a hard time setting up a schedule that worked for me, but I found a wonderful site that maybe some of you have heard of before She is an absolute lifesaver! You start at your own pace and work into having a very organized system for things.

I can't say that I follow everything on there to the letter. But it's a wonderful place to start and get ideas on what works for you. And it really makes you appreciate a shiny sink :)

 As always don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestLinkedIn, and Etsy. Sign up for our Newsletter and don't miss any of our blog posts, shop updates, or exclusiveNewsletter subscriber discounts and offers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Work It Wednesday: What's New In the Studio and 10 Week Etsy Shop Series

New Items

You'll be finding a fun new item in the shop soon. The brand spankin' new BooBoo Ice ice/heat packs! If you saw our post last week with our contest and fun new fabrics, you'll be pleased to know that the wait is over and the item has been revealed!

 No one guessed correctly what the new item was and a winner was randomly chosen from all the guesses made on the blog and on Facebook. The winner of our contest was Natasha Lanier!

I'm in LOVE with these adorable fabrics and how perfectly cuddly and cozy they are to soothe your little one's booboos. I don't know about you, but my kids want a bandaid for every single bump. But with these sweet little ice packs in the freezer, they ditch the idea of a bandaid for their booboo ice! The best part? Adults can use them too for a little cooling relief (migraines or minor cooking mishaps anyone?) and even pop them in the microwave for a few seconds for those minor aches from chasing the little munchkins around all day.

Personalize Your Items

Another great thing that's coming soon is our embroidery machine! That's right. You asked for it and now it's becoming a reality. I have officially ordered my Brother embroidery machine and it will be here in about a week. Personalized bows, bags, sleep masks and onesies here we come!

Also coming soon...

New Blog Series

For those of you looking for a little Etsy shop owner wisdom, next week will mark the beginning of our 10 Week Etsy Shop series "Improving Your Etsy Shop". This series will go through everything from scheduling and organizing to photography and tagging. I can't wait to share all of these great posts with you! 

So what do you think of the new items, the upcoming options of personalization with our embroidery machine, and our new blog series?

 As always don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestLinkedIn, and Etsy. Sign up for our Newsletter and don't miss any of our blog posts, shop updates, or exclusiveNewsletter subscriber discounts and offers.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In the Studio with Bloom & Bling: We've Come a Long Way Baby!

When Bloom & Bling Accessories started out on Etsy in October of 2010 it was little more than a closet full of ribbon. Literally. That "room" with all of the hangers full of ribbon below was a VERY small walk in closet.

ribbon storage 2010

Last year, I moved to a new home and finally got my own studio space in a building just off of the house. It's beautiful, organized, and I can actually fit inventory into it instead of having everything in plastic tubs where you can't see it when you might need it.

Seriously, I'm not sure how I EVER got anything done in the closet. If you told me I had to go back to the itty bitty literal "hole in the wall" that was my former studio I'd probably laugh at you...then I'd cry...cry like a big bawling baby.

My new studio not only looks about a bajillion times better (no exaggeration) it functions SO much more efficiently. I have these lovely built in, custom ribbon storage racks on two walls, (isn't my hubby handy?) a desk dedicated to my sewing supplies, another desk for all of my paperwork, and putting together orders, and a beautiful large cutting board.

I can't believe how far my little business has come and look forward so much to seeing what the coming years have in store. And just so everyone knows, the coming months have a brand new embroidery machine in store! Finally, the personalized orders you've been asking for!

If you missed my post Monday, I'm having a contest to see if anyone can guess what the new item in my shop will be. You can find that post HERE and enter your guess. Maybe you'll be the first to guess correctly, but even if you aren't, everyone that guesses is getting entered for a chance to win their choice of the finished product (How cool is THAT?)

 As always don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestLinkedIn, and Etsy. Sign up for our Newsletter and don't miss any of our blog posts, shop updates, or exclusiveNewsletter subscriber discounts and offers.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Makin' It Monday: Your Chance to WIN

I had an excellent supply shopping day Friday and came home with some fun fabrics, ribbons, and beads. These will all eventually become bows, jewelry, sleep masks, and scarves. 

But today I'm working on new items. Brand new ones. Something not in the shop currently, and that I haven't had in it before. 

What is it you may ask...

You could ask, but I'm not telling. At least not until someone guesses correctly because today YOU get a chance to WIN what I'm making.

Here are the beautiful fabrics I will be using:

One very lucky person will get their choice of the end result IF they are the first person to guess what I'm making.
 **If there are no correct guesses everyone will be entered by number in the order of entry and a random winner will be chosen

Will you be the winner? Give it a shot! What do you think it is? And what are you making or working on today? 

Share our blog with your friends so that they get a chance to play too! The more the merrier! 
If you have a blog too, let me know in the comments so we can follow you and give you some blog love!

 As always don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestLinkedIn, and Etsy. Sign up for our Newsletter and don't miss any of our blog posts, shop updates, or exclusiveNewsletter subscriber discounts and offers.